By Melanie G. Wiber
In response to extensive research of human foundation illustrations, responses from scholars and associates and study into reconstructive representation and feminist feedback of Western paintings, this ground-breaking ebook strains the sophisticated ways that paleoanthropological conventions have motivated and feature shifted within the production of those illustrations. Wiber finds that embedded meanings in those illustrations transcend gender to incorporate different ubiquitous subject matters — racial superiority and upward cultural growth. Underlying a lot of these subject matters, she stumbled on a easy conservatism within the paleoanthropological method of evolutionary idea.
Erect Men/Undulating Women presents a deeper figuring out of popularized illustrations of human origins, yet, extra importantly, it encourages readers to achieve a sensitivity to the ways that Western tradition constructs “scientific” findings which are suitable with its deeply held ideals and values.
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Additional info for Erect Men/Undulating Women: The Visual Imagery of Gender, “Race” and Progress in Reconstructive Illustrations of Human Evolution
Public interest will be generated only when a scientist can authoritatively position a fossil in the hominid family tree as ancestral to the human branch. This Homo sapiens-centric tendency in the interpretation of fossils remains unabated, but in recent years the new fossil finds have had the effect of narrowing public interest, from a wider focus on all so-called transition periods to a narrower interest in the "early transition" from the Miocene ape to the australopithecine. The amount of research funding, academic disputes and publication success that the research surrounding the australopithecines has recently received is one indication of this new first origins interest.
Haviland (1994:159) even has an "information box" on Adrienne Zihlman; despite this highlighted box on her contributions, however, Zihlman's literature is not cited in the chapter where the box appears, nor in the recommended reading list at the end of the chapter, nor in the general bibliography of the text. Tanner is ignored, deserving neither "box" nor citations. In Kottak (1994), Tanner's ethnographic research is cited but not her paleoanthropology references; Zihlman is not cited at all. When one looks deeper, the Woman-the-Gatherer model is selectively covered and usually found embedded in a discussion which actually returns to the old androcentrism.
This was followed in the early and mid-1980s by a series of fossil finds which further confused the picture. In 1985, the so-called Black Skull was found by Alan Walker near Lake Turkana. 5 million years ago but displays a very puzzling mixture of features. It strengthens the possibility that the several gracile and robust species of the australopithecine genus may have coexisted for close to a million years, since it pushes back the time frame for one of the most robust species, the Australopithecus boisei, by at least three hundred thousand years.